Immersing himself in the game of football has been a very unorthodox process for 2016 Cincinnati (Ohio) Hills Christian four-star defensive end Prince Sammons.
“He’s from Nigeria and he made it over to America,” Sammons guardian and father Brandon said. “He grew up playing soccer and picked up basketball a few years before he came to America so those are the two sports he was familiar with.
“The first time he saw a football clip was; I coach the football team at my school and we happened to be finishing up the highlight film of the year when he moved in with us and I said you ever heard of football? Take a look at this and I showed that to him and that was the first time he’d ever seen guys wearing pads and helmets and that kind of stuff and I think he was kind of like, what’s this guy doing? But I could tell he’s like yeah, whatever dude.”
Standing 6-foot-6.5 and 260-pounds, the last year has been a whirlwind on the field and off for Sammons.
His physical prowess and raw ability as a defensive end have college coaches highly interested in Sammons’ future, Sammons himself continuing to learn the game of football and increase his fondness for the game.
“I think seeing him kind of understand some concepts and techniques a little bit more,” Sammons said. “He went to some camps and things last week and he was just excited to talk about what he did so I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed.
“Last year he was trying to figure out what this whole American football thing was about and I think once he got a taste of it and can see how it works, he’s got a chance to do some 1 on 1 stuff and understands why and how and some of that.
“I think he’s really starting to take a liking to how he can use his physicality and not get a foul called on him every play like he gets in basketball cause of the mismatches.”
Ohio State recently extended an offer to Sammons and is currently a school standing out to he and his family based on their personal approach to the process.
“Teaching at the school I’ve obviously had a chance to meet a lot of coaches and say hey to them when they come in the doors so in that regard I’ve had a chance to talk with not only Ohio State but all the schools that come in,” Sammons said. “And I will say the one thing about Ohio State is their coaching staff does their job well. Coach Combs who is the primary recruiter, they would call him, and then Coach Johnson.
“Ohio State’s staff in general, Coach Combs has told me if you need any help give me a call that he’d like to help me out any way he can, just very supportive and he told me himself that he’s been through this process with his kids so he’s seen the whole gamut of how this thing works.”
Although Michigan hasn’t extended an offer just yet, Sammons and his family has already been on campus several times in Ann Arbor, impressed with what the overall picture provides.
“We went up multiple times in the fall to see a game or two and then to a basketball game for what was called a junior day earlier this year,” Sammons said. “That was really his first interaction with college football, seeing a Michigan game, we went to the Michigan/Notre Dame game last year so that was really his first immersion seeing what college football is all about seeing 115,000 people in the stadium cheering for the team basically which, I think, was intriguing to him to see that many people there for 85 kids.
“And Coach Smith is great, a great guy and I’ve really enjoyed my chances to talk to him. The day he came to school this past spring I was out on a personal day so I didn’t get a chance to talk with him but I know our head coach did.
“I know they’re hoping we can get him up there for another visit. I don’t think he’s going to be doing any more camps this summer, his time was very limited because he plays AAU basketball which takes up his weekends.”
With interest and offers mounting from some of the elite programs across the country in college football, the Sammons are looking to get a better hold of the situation and begin setting up visits this July.
“My wife sat him down and said you’ve got to start figuring this out cause you know last week Tennessee offered and Ohio State offered so it’s starting to talk about some higher profile type schools and that kind of stuff,” Sammons said. “And people have told us things are going to get crazy for him so it’s like ok, we better try to get a game plan going.
“She sat him down and said what kind of schools do you want to go see? What kind of schools would you like to take a look at?”
“He made a list of schools he would like to go check out,” Sammons added. “Most of the schools are ones he hasn’t seen yet cause he wants to see what is all out there.
“Like I told him you’ve got to check out more than two or three schools cause once you start seeing multiple campuses and start talking to people you’ll start to formulate your own opinion on what you really think is best for you for four years.”
A very unique situation for the Sammons, having their mammoth son close to home in college will be a factor but ultimately they’ll support whatever decision he makes.
“Absolutely, we want him close,” Sammons said. “Like we tell him all the time, we view you as one of our own children. We’ve got three small children that are 7, 5 and 3, and he’s just our 17 year old boy. He doesn’t look like us, he doesn’t talk like us but my wife always tells him God placed you in this family for a reason and we think of you as our son, we treat you as our son, we know we can never replace your birth mother and father who have since passed away.
“From our standpoint, we’d love to have him close so we can go up have dinner with him, take him out to eat, help him with laundry, come to games and do all the stuff family likes to do with family and for their kids.”